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Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar's Richard Garriott and Starr Long on MMO community

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Interviews, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Shroud of the Avatar

Some Assembly Required:  Garriott and Long interview shows Shroud of the Avatar wins at community
If you've been making a list of sandbox features and checking it twice, chances are you'll find many of those items in Shroud of the Avatar. And if player-generated content and a great community are near the top of that list, then this crowdfunded title might very well be the present you want to get yourself! While still under development, this sandbox has already grown exponentially from its humble beginnings of a chicken in a room to a current state that includes a bevy of features -- with more arriving like clockwork every monthly update. And plenty of those features are tools and systems that allow players to make the game a personalized experience for themselves and others.

What about Shroud of the Avatar makes it so great for player-generated content? What makes the community great? And how has Steam affected the game? I sat down with Portalarium's Richard Garriott and Starr Long to talk about the move to Steam, updates, PGC, and the amazing community that's supporting the game. These guys had so much to share that this is only part one!

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Listen to Shroud of the Avatar's player-created soundtrack

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Music, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

sota
The fact that approximately 90% of the soundtrack for Shroud of the Avatar will be player-created may have escaped your attention, but the devs have not forgotten. In fact, in this past week's newsletter, several of the successful submissions were featured, including the track called Truth.

The team is getting ready to unleash another grand tour quest and has announced that the reward for completing this journey will be a seasonal yule hat. Another addition planned for the upcoming Release 13 is the ability to light weapons on fire via magic. Why have magic if you're not making the world burn, right?

Shroud of the Avatar introduces the desert with Release 13

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

shroud
Release 13 is prepped and raring to hit Shroud of the Avatar's servers on Thursday, December 18th. One of the new additions that will be coming to the game is the inclusion of desert biomes for the sandbox title.

Release 13 will also allow players to see part of their hair while still wearing hats, which is more of a big deal than one might expect. It will also contain a new "grand tour" quest that will dish out an exclusive reward to those who complete it before the next release.

Shroud of the Avatar recently launched on Steam Early Access, and keys for this version of the game are available to all backers.

Shroud of the Avatar unleashes a community update

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Enemy mine.
Do you want to venture into a dark mine filled with kobolds? This time it will be different because it will be taking place in Shroud of the Avatar once the game patches Release 13 to a live release. But that's hardly the only point of the game's most recent update for the community, which comes hot on the heels of the game's overall success on Steam's Early Access service.

This most recent update also includes several player-made screenshots and guides as well as the community event schedule running through the weekend for Release 12. A 12-hour telethon is also planned for December 1st, starting at 11:00 a.m. EST; the development team will be live to answer questions and interact with players through the broadcast. Check out the full dispatch here to catch up on community news and get a peek ahead.

Shroud of the Avatar enters Steam early access today

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Shroud of the Avatar

Same dance, different days.
There's a certain feeling that you get when you walk around in a game with a new hat, as if you're making a statement: "Hello, world, I have a new hat." And you can get a new hat by logging into Shroud of the Avatar and doing the Grand Tour quests added in the game's most recent release. The new pilgrim hat will be available only during Release 12's testing schedule, so you'll want to get the hat soon if you want that new hat.

Release 12 does offer more than just a new hat, though; the update offers a comprehensive new user experience, 15 new skills, 50 new weapon and armor recipes, 40 new songs, new maps, guilds, and other improvements. Studio boss Richard Garriott has also weighed in on the state of the game and updates for the solo play version of the game.

Check out the full update on the official site for more details and community news. SOTA officially enters early access on Steam today.

Shroud of the Avatar shows new screens, preps for Steam

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Shroud of the Avatar's weekly update is here, and as always, there's a good bit of info packed into the lengthy post. There are a few new screenshots featuring scenes from Release 12, though you'll need to explore the game world to find them since Portalarium is coy about the new locations.

There's also a blurb about interacting with SotA's Steam community as well as a helpful how-to list in case you're unsure how to upload screens. Portalarium reiterates that SotA will become purchasable on Steam in early access form on November 24th.

Shroud of the Avatar preps for Steam launch

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar

Remember to purchase the add-on that allows for atmosphere for just a small additional fee.
On November 24th, Shroud of the Avatar will be launching on Steam's Early Access service. Backers of the game should already have their Steam keys. Once the game is launched, the development team wants to keep the game's servers on at all times, leading to the current state of the game. In this round of testing, contrary to past tests, players can this time access the game servers according to the game's most recent development update.

The newsletter also highlights the ominous Tower of the Shuttered Eye, a rather unpleasant place that will be added to the game with the next major patch scheduled for release on November 20th. There's also a post-mortem on the launch of the game's most recent test patch, which saw a big increase in numbers over previous events. Take a look at the full update for a clearer picture of how the game is doing and what's just around the corner.

Shroud of the Avatar Release 11 helps prepare for Steam debut

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Patches, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

sota
With Shroud of the Avatar's launch on Steam Early Access next month, the team is eager to test crucial systems to prepare for a wider playerbase. As such, Release 11 has gone into testing from today through Monday, October 27th, and will allow backers to access a Steam-specific test as well.

Release 11 patches in a character advancement system, major combat improvements, crafting additions, and a big change to the game's overworld map. "We are also moving towards each of these maps being visually distinct (albeit similar when part of the same area)," the team posted. "The result, we feel, is a map that is MUCH easier to navigate and coordinate with other players. We know this is slightly different than what we have presented in the past, but we feel this is the right direction for the game."

Shroud of the Avatar will go live on Steam Early Access on November 24th. The video guide on how to install the Steam test is all yours after the break!

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Not So Massively: Star Citizen's Guinness record, Dota 2's mega patch, and GTAO's last team standing

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Crime, World of Tanks, Not So Massively, MOBA, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Dota 2
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Shroud of the Avatar's update 10 stresses stability, challenge dungeons

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Shroud of the Avatar

That's quite a shroud you have there, Mr. Avatar, sir.
Any game with a strong online component is only as strong as its servers. You could make the best game in history, but if no one can log in and play it, it's not going to be worth much. The latest update on Shroud of the Avatar's development notes that one of the big issues plaguing the game's 10th major update was stability. That means that the team needs more people connected and playing (or trying to) so that the issues can be documented and solved.

The team also introduced the Challenge Dungeon to get a clearer picture of PvE combat, noting that it had become a bit too single-note even against different sorts of enemies. PvP, meanwhile, is a matter of constantly moving, which is very network-intensive. The update discusses some of the patches planned to address both issues in the future, including better enemy AI and skills reworked to not make constantly darting about the most attractive update. Take a look at the full developer dispatch for more information.

Test Shroud of the Avatar, get a hat

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

SOTA
Release 10 access for Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar sandbox begins Thursday morning, according to an update on the Kickstarter portal. This release is primarily a polish patch, Portalarium says, but housing utility, PvP, and population density were addressed as well:
We also made changes to increase player population densities in the game because we observed players becoming more and more spread out as we added more scenes; especially scenes with player housing. Speaking of player housing, we also noticed many people claiming houses, but not actually using nor decorating them. To address both these issues, we reduced the number of scenes with player housing and we introduced costs to lot claiming and house deed purchases (deeds can be purchased from the bartender in Owl's Head). We also reduced the number of PVP arenas to only two. Hopefully this will concentrate the players in fewer areas, and increase the number of decorated buildings.
In far more important news, SOTA's devs admit that testing participation has been falling off with successive releases; to entice players to test, FREE HAT. No, really; you get a free special hat for completing a quest in each release.

SOTA was greenlit on Steam last weekend after just a few days of campaigning. The full release notes can be found on the official website.

Shroud of the Avatar has already been greenlit on Steam

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

SOTA
Well, that was fast! After a brief campaign that began late last week, Shroud of the Avatar announced today that it has been successfully greenlit on Steam:
As you can see on the page your overwhelmingly positive support has resulted in an incredibly fast green lighting of Shroud! Thank you all so much for your support. Stay tuned as we now work with Valve to get Shroud in the Early Access section of Steam as soon as we can.
SOTA's successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign has to date brought in almost two million dollars. Early access is currently available with a $45 minimum pledge.

Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar seeks Steam Greenlighting

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Sandbox, Shroud of the Avatar

sota
Richard Garriott has conquered outer space, but can he get a foothold on Valve's popular digital distribution service? He sure hopes so; he and his team announced that they launched a Steam Greenlight campaign this past week for Shroud of the Avatar.

"SotA's long-term success depends upon us reaching as wide an audience as possible, and Steam is a great way to do that," the team posted.

Portalarium said that the possible Steam version will be not a replacement for the direct download of the game but an additional option. There is also speculation about giving current Shroud of the Avatar backers Steam keys so that they would not have to buy the game twice.

Not So Massively: The MOBAs and pseudo-MMOs of PAX Prime 2014

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Classes, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Destiny, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

Moonrise
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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PAX Prime 2014: Hands-on with Shroud of the Avatar

Betas, Fantasy, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Shroud of the Avatar

When I got my first look at the live game of Shroud of the Avatar at PAX Prime this past weekend, one thought slammed me to the ground: This game is so much better-looking than the website's screenshots let on.

My first steps into the spiritual successor to the Ultima franchise were taken in a player village at night. The incredibly dark surroundings were broken by the flickering flames of braziers in nearby huts and the swirl of fireflies. It was moody, stylish, and, if you'll pardon the word, magical. One of the devs told me that lots of work has been done lately to provide dynamic lighting that even goes so far as to allow your character's "eyes" to adjust to the dark and change the screen accordingly.

After poking around a few half-finished homes, I ported into a PvP zone to experience the game's combat system. I learned that fighting in Shroud of the Avatar is neither simple nor similar to other MMOs. There's a rather intriguing deck system in which you earn points to spend on cards, then create a build from those. When you switch into combat mode, your hotbar is gradually dealt cards depending on their cooldowns. And if you don't use those skills within an allotted time? Why, they go away. It was confusing to grok, although the dev mentioned that it was something all players will need to spend actual time to learn and wield effectively. I'm unsure how this marks an improvement over most current combat systems, although it might appeal to those who miss Chronicles of Spellborn's system.

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